It was only a matter of time for the technology to catch up with the prevention of bullying. Now several new smartphone applications intended to help stop school bullying have come out, incorporating perhaps the one key ingredient to their success -- they all allow kids to report bullying anonymously.
As it has been forever in the annals of schools, it is the rare kid who wants to be seen as a snitch, so the anonymous factor is an important one. Stop Bullies, an app that allows students to report incidents of bullying by sending photos, messages, and other information including a GPS tag to help administrators locate an ongoing fight, plays up that this can all be done anonymously. The app will go live in two schools starting in August. Another app, Back Off Bully, which was created by students and offers similar features, along with resources on bullying and a function that allows students to schedule counseling appointments, does much of the same.
While 83% of middle-schoolers and 85% of high schoolers in the US have phones, nearly 20% of teens still aren't allowed to carry smartphones at school, which will make this kind of technology hard for some students to employ, but conceivably every school could buy into this kind of reporting in the near future. With nearly one-third of 12 to 18 year olds reporting that they have been bullied at school at some point, this is a simple technology that could make a difference. It's not perfect, but giving students who want to do the right thing an easy way to report that bad things are happening, is a great way to start.